Warm & Fuzzy February Campaign Provides Comforts for Foster Youth
To a child affected by abuse, neglect or abandonment, small comforts mean the world to them. This is why every year the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) holds our annual Warm and Fuzzy February campaign to provide cozy comforts for foster youth. This year, we were able to provide over 1,000 children with care items for winter!
For children who experience trauma, reading becomes an outlet for them. According to Health Line, reading helps reduce stress, aids sleep, alleviates depression, and strengthens the brain — all of which have positive benefits on a child’s mental health. Thanks to the help of social influencer, literacy and children’s causes advocate, Zayda Love, books were purchased from our Amazon wish list and used to contribute to our care packages.
Cards for Kids
Volunteer Action Hero, Jacqueline Legazcue, held a “Cards for Kids” volunteer activity over Zoom to create and collect cards to include in our Warm and Fuzzy February care packages. Some participants shared their own experience with foster care and their desire to help children who are currently in the foster care system.
Jamz & Jammies
Jacqueline also hosted a virtual fundraiser called “Jamz & Jammies,” where guests could dress in pajamas and dance to their favorite songs in order to raise funds for the campaign. During the event, she donned headphones and the name DJ PJ, playing danceable tunes for all ages. There was even a text-to-donate option to request songs. Some favorites included “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, “I Like to Move It” from Madagascar, “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, and “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.
The event also featured a virtual concert segment with a performance by Katie Ferrara, an award-winning alternative pop singer/songwriter from Los Angeles who writes honest and authentic music. Katie lends her voice to causes like ours to raise awareness for projects she is passionate about. A highlight of her performance was the song “No Bad Days,” which was featured on the Hallmark Channel series The Good Witch. CFA Director of Development, Jenelle Phillips, stated that it is her new favorite song.
“It’s a great reminder for all of us to find the positive in each day and to keep a heart of gratitude,” Jenelle said. “It’s particularly a great message for the children we serve. Though things are not easy for them, there are wonderful opportunities and people in their life lifting them up in support.”
Participants of the campaign donated cards, pajamas, clothing, books, funds, and their time to make the project a success. Through our various fundraisers, we raised a total of $2,123 to contribute to the campaign.
Thanks to our amazing donors, CFA provided care packages filled with books, stuffed animals, cookies and winter wear or pajamas to 226 foster youth at Trinity Youth Services. Foster teens living on residential campuses received much-requested hoodies, which they were very grateful for.
We were also able to provide 885 children at Citrus Elementary School, Hannah’s Children’s Homes, Children’s Advocacy Center, Foothill Family Shelter, and RARCC with stuffed animals and warm clothing. In total, we supported 1,111 children through the 2021 Warm and Fuzzy February campaign!
This year’s campaign was sponsored by Sharon Nagel and Cindy Rainey with special thanks to Sysco Riverside for providing cookies included in care packages and The City of Claremont Human Services for providing stuffed animals. Thank you to everyone who graciously donated to make sure each child felt the support they need and deserve.
Family Night Packs
In addition to our traditional Warm and Fuzzy February care packages, we were also able to purchase items to compile 72 family night care packages for foster families. Each family night pack included popcorn, candy, soda, DVD, and board game or puzzle! Twelve packs were also distributed to residential campuses for the foster youth living there. They received snacks as well as books to replenish their libraries. Thank you to a generous anonymous donor for making this possible.
Be the Difference
We appreciate everyone who joined us for this year’s Warm and Fuzzy campaign and for being the difference in the lives of children in need. If you would like to contribute to promote literacy among foster youth, donate to our Zayda Literacy Fund, where three foster youth who write the most compelling book reports will be granted $500 each for their imaginative ambitions. Every dollar helps to grow this annual initiative.
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.
NRI Distribution Rallies Team for CFA Cards for Kids Program
Throughout the month of May, the Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) provided various opportunities to help communities observe National Foster Care Month. As part of our community outreach, we were able to partner with the Fontana, CA branch of NRI Distribution for our “Cards for Kids Program.” This program allows our local partners to create beautiful handmade cards filled with words of encouragement, which are then given to local children in foster care.
From Left to Right: Angelica Lopez, HR Coordinator for NRI Distribution; Becky Ustrell, Community Outreach Coordinator for Children’s Foundation of America; Luz Garcia-Pennock, HR Manager for NRI Distribution
NRI Distribution specializes in North American based fulfillment of footwear, apparel and accessories. They also provide services including e-commerce fulfillment, single order pick and pack capabilities and even handle returns, warranty and repairs.
HR Coordinator of NRI Distribution, Angelica Lopez, said she discovered the Children’s Foundation of America during her research online. “We were looking to partner with a foundation who truly made a difference in the community. A charity who’s values aligned to ours,” she said. “CFA really caught our attention because of all the great events held that truly make a difference in our community.”
NRI believes in having corporate responsibility and giving back. As a company, they recognize their actions not only have an impact on their employees, customers and community, but also the planet. NRI aims to be ethically, environmentally and socially responsible.
“Helping the community is one of our values. We love to come together and help those who unfortunately go through major hardships in life and no one, especially young children, should go through hardships alone,” Angelica said.
The NRI employees felt a sense of deep satisfaction doing something for children in need. Angelica says her favorite part about partnering with the Children’s Foundation of America was “seeing the creativity come out from our employees and how genuine it all was to see them really want to make these children smile.”
Angelica continued that she and the NRI team are looking forward to “many, many more great events that will bring together our employees while making a difference!”
To become a business partner like NRI Distribution or to send in your own cards for kids, contact 1-800-KIDS-730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca Ustrell, Community Outreach Coordinator
Becky acts as liaison for Children’s Foundation of America. On any given day she could be meeting with potential donors, coordinating a fundraising event, recruiting volunteers and forming partnerships with other nonprofits that can benefit from the help of our Foundation. Becky is currently studying sociology as well as fine art and helps organize the Claremont Art Walk. You will most likely find Becky working on freelance illustrations, playing the cello, mingling at a chamber of commerce event or volunteering in the community.
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